It’s amazing how many dog owners are horrified to learn their dogs absolutely LOVE to eat chicken poop. These little delicacies can be licked, scarfed down or even rolled in for a dog’s sheer enjoyment. The risk, of course, is that man’s best friend may ingest campylobacter or salmonella bacteria, causing diarrhea and transmission to humans as well. Not all chickens carry this bacteria and not all dogs will become sick, but it’s still a practice any responsible pet owner should try to discourage.
Reasons Your Dog May Be Eating Chicken Poop:
It’s a dog’s natural instinct to eat feces to cover their tracks and prevent predators from hunting them. This is especially true of small dogs who make for easy prey in the wild.
In some cases, dogs may be searching for B1 vitamins, potassium or added protein.
Other dogs may have separation anxiety or suffer from boredom, especially if they spend a lot of time around the coop with minimal to no supervision and interaction.
A stressed-out puppy mill or kennel dog may have gotten into the habit of “cleaning up” in filthy surroundings and doing a bit of “monkey-see, monkey-do.”
Some dogs thrive on attention from their owners – both positive and negative. They’ll take whatever they can get! If you’re yelling about coprophagia, it’s at least attention.
Here are 10 ways to stop your dog from eating chicken poop:
Keep your dog on a leash and walk around the yard each day. Instruct a stern “NO” or “LEAVE IT” when your dog goes in for the kill and, if necessary, jerk the leash to make your point. Of course, your dog must first know how to “leave it” or the exercise won’t be as effective. Learn how to teach it here.
Go outside before your dog does and sprinkle the feces with hot cayenne powder or hot sauce. Your dog might think twice before munching next time!
Keep your dog well-exercised and practice obedience training several times a day. A happy, obedient and busy dog will find little time to be eating excrement.
Try adding bananas, meat tenderizer or B1 supplements to your dog’s food or switching to a different, more nutritious brand.
Keep a muzzle on your dog for brief periods of time when he or she is left out alone.
Don’t let your dog out unsupervised. If you see your canine friend veering toward the danger zone, redirect attention with a ball or by calling to come, sit and do a trick. Distraction is a great tactic, especially for dogs who may eat feces for attention.
Clean up after the coop incessantly or build a barricade to keep your dog out of the chicken’s feeding and defecating pen.
Offer your dog treats to stay by your side and behave as you feed the chickens their goodies. Sometimes dogs see what the chickens are getting and insist on having some one way or another – even if they have to grab it after it has “passed on to the other side.”
Try not to react so harshly if you have a particularly attention-seeking dog. Instead, praise the dog when he or she is good and sticking close by your side.
Add pineapple to the chickens’ diet. It naturally makes excrement taste intolerable to dogs.